Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Currently Alzheimer’s is the most expensive disease and its prevalence is only growing daily. As I watched my parents struggle day to day to make it thru the past 10 years of my father’s battle with this condition, until it claimed his life in January of this year. My father who was a hardworking husband and father proudly served for 20 years with the US Navy, followed by 25 years with the US Postal Service. Relying on my father's meger retirement and social security, they made just enough to place them just out of reach of any funding relief to care for my father due to the financial structures set in place. Nursing homes not only have a long waiting lists, for people with Alzheimer's, due to the care required, are also very expensive unless you have planned ahead and established a Long Term Healthcare policy, which is almost unattainable for the middle income families. Even, though my father served and sacrificed unselfishly for the US Navy, there was very little assistance available for him thru the VA Benefits. My mother, who battles her own health issues, cared for my father 24/7, with the limited assistance she was able to receive from Hospice Pallative Care towards then end. My mother would not have changed what she had done for my father, though honestly she also had no other options. I have seen the physical/emotional toll it has taken upon her and the decline in her health as well. I have also seen other family members and friends go thru this battle as well, walking our very same footsteps. This disease not only affects the individual, though the caregiver as well, today there are more than 5 million Americans living with this disease and 15.4 million caregivers.
We are at a critical moment, and I urge you to reach out to Senator Lindsey Graham, a key member of the U.S. Senate appropriations Subcommitte on Health to support a strong National Alzheimer’s Plan with the needed resources for patients and caregivers, including funding of 100 million in fiscal year 2014 for Alzheimer’s research, education, and outreach and caregiver support services. Alzheimer’s disease is a devasting disease physically, emotionally and financially not only for the individual, but for the whole family. Progress is being made, though the people that are impacted by Alzheimer’s only continues to grow at astounding rates, surpassing the progress that is being made.